SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — The goals are finally starting to come for some of the Chicago Blackhawks.
Jonathan Toews had a goal and two assists and Corey Crawford made 37 saves in his 400th NHL game to help the Blackhawks beat the Florida Panthers 4-1 on Saturday night.
Toews scored only his third goal in 17 games, and one was an empty-netter.
“You go into every game trying to forget the pucks aren’t going in, even though you have chances,” Toews said. “You try and create that feeling you’re going to get lucky, you get the puck on your stick and things can happen.”
Brandon Saad had a goal and an assist, and Patrick Kane and John Hayden also scored for Chicago.
Saad scored for just the second time in 16 games.
“Our line is playing much better, holding onto pucks, creating plays,” Saad said. “Chances are coming and some were bound to go in for me.”
Kane’s goal was his third in the past two games, but he only had one goal in the 10 games before that.
The Blackhawks are 4-1-1 in their last six games and their top line contributed to this win.
“Obviously, I’m sure they felt better about (Saad) finally getting one and then (Toews) gets one,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “It was a good night for them and they did a lot of good things.”
Jared McCann scored for the Panthers, and Roberto Luongo stopped 35 shots.
Kane made it 3-1 when his shot from the right circle beat Luongo at 7:03 of the second.
Toews stretched the Blackhawks lead to 4-1 with 2:52 left in the second. An awkward backhanded swat at the puck from Toews in the right circle caught Luongo by surprise and the puck trickled through his pads and into the net.
“I tried to make a play on it and when it bounced in front of me, it just took a funny hop and went five-hole,” Luongo said. “It’s one of those where you just shake your head.”
When asked to explain what he was trying to do on the play, Toews said, “Exactly what happened. Let’s leave it at that.”
The Panthers closed to 2-1 on McCann’s goal 1:06 into the second. McCann’s shot from the high slot beat Crawford on the glove side.
The Blackhawks opened the scoring on Hayden’s goal at 9:25 of the first. Florida’s Derek MacKenzie failed to clear the puck in the slot and it ended up on Hayden’s stick and he quickly shot the puck over Luongo’s shoulder.
Saad made it 2-0 when Toews fired a pass from the right side along the goal line, and Saad redirected the puck into the net with 5:25 left in the first.
The Panthers were outshot 21-7 in the first period but started the second outshooting the Blackhawks 13-1 until Kane’s goal.
“We stood around and watched too much in the first period, they took it to us,” Panthers coach Bob Boughner said. “You’ve got to hand it to them, they were ready to play and we weren’t.”
NOTES: Crawford has held opponents to three goals or fewer in eight of his past nine starts. … Saad is the first Blackhawk with seven shots on goal in a period since Dustin Byfuglien in 2008. ….Panthers RW Evgenii Dadanov left the game in the third with an upper-body injury.
Blackhawks: Host Anaheim on Monday night.
Panthers: At New Jersey on Monday night.
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